Let’s talk dirty. Laundry might not be the most glamorous topic but definitely really important one that goes hand in hand with sustainability and clothing. The first step to have a more sustainable wardrobe is to cherish and care for what we already have. Washing is such an automatic task to do for most of us that we barely think about the affect it has on our bodies and the environment. Clothing is one of the biggest polluters of our oceans and the way we launder it plays major part. There are some basic rules that we all should keep in mind, if we do so it will make a difference! Not only to our planet but also to our wallets.
Where should we start?
First thing we recommend is an easy and immediately applicable one. Try to do less washing. Wear the heck out of your clothes don’t toss it to the washing machine after only one use when most of the times is enough if you just air it all out. Do you have a small stain? Wash it out by hands, no harm created plus you can wear it again right away. And when it is time to really do your laundry make sure you wash a full load.
When you ready to go don’t just divide your laundry based on colour, also check the surface. Soft to soft hard to hard, don’t wash your denim jacket with your favourite nightie as it leads to drastically more fibre breaking.
Switch your laundry detergent. Check the labels and look for cruelty free, plant-based products with recyclable packaging. Conventional detergents are often petroleum based and contain so many toxic ingredients, like chlorine bleach and synthetic fragrances, that are harmful to the environment and to your body. All these chemicals can infiltrate into your skin and affect your health in the long run plus it all go down the drain and eventually harm the eco system. Besides greener cleaner often doesn’t even cost more so not switching to the natural option is a no brainer.
Keep it cool. Don’t go over 30°C while washing as more then 80% of the energy use goes to heating up the water. Too high temperature doesn’t benefit the fibre anyway so try to look for the detergent that is tough on stains even in cold water.
It’s not a secret that many textile fibres like polyester, acrylic, nylon and other synthetics contain plastic. Cheap and versatile = very popular. All of us own some. Every time we wash our clothes microplastic drain out with the water and leaks into the environment, but there is a way to prevent it. Washing bag that filters out the microfibers, you just toss your laundry in and put into the machine. After every use you will see the tiny pieces trapped inside the bag which is quite scary. So next time you buy something new check the label and choose clothes made of natural materials instead.
Forget about the dryer. We know it is convenient and it can make your life easier but is the comfort worth it? Especially if the switch is as easy as let the clothes air dry instead. The amount of energy used while drying is enormous, your clothes will probably last you longer as it won’t get that damaged and air drying doesn’t cost you anything, plus if you hang your clothes in a right way you can skip ironing majority of it. And that’s a win!
So don’t forget if you implement some of these steps into your laundry routine not only you will help the environment and cut down your carbon footprint but the clothes will also last you longer and that is the best approach to sustainable fashion.
+ Words: Kristina Kasparova
Kristina Kasparova is a creative nomad, free spirit seeking real conversations and inspiring stories. Czech made, she is currently based in London, focused on more ethical fashion and sustainable life.